A Christian pastor was recently slaughtered in the Muslim-majority African nation of Tanzania. While butchering Christian minorities is becoming increasingly common in that part of the Muslim world, the context for this latest slaughter is somewhat different than the usual forms of Christian persecution under Islam--such as allegations of "blaspheming" the name of Muslim prophet Muhammad. And yet, as in most forms of modern-day Muslim attacks on Christians, it too fits patterns and precedents.
On February 11, Pastor Mathayo Kachili of the Tanzania Assemblies of God Church was beheaded by Muslims. According to the report, a spokesperson from the local police department
said conflicts had been boiling for quite a while now in the area where a section of what are believed to be Muslim leaders had demanded immediate closure of butcheries owned by Christians. He said that a group of youths believed to be Muslims assaulted several Christians using sticks and machetes and attacked a butchery owner at Buseresere town. During the confrontations pastor Kachili was beheaded.
According to Religious Liberty Monitoring this latest slaying "has its source in a debate presently raging in Tanzania. Apparently it is a 'long-standing tradition' in Tanzania that Muslims have a monopoly on the meat industry. Recently however, Christians in Geita district, Mwanza region--on the southern shores of Lake Victoria--have entered the butchery trade, causing outrage amongst Muslims."
Tensions got to the point that the Minister of State in the President's Office responsible for social relations "categorically directed that the task of slaughtering animals for public consumption should be executed only by Muslims. He said that people of other faiths may slaughter animals if the meat is solely for family/private consumption--but certainly not for sale to, or consumption by, the general public."
But if they still insist on working in the trade, then they must, according to Karl Lyimo of the Citizen, be "ready, willing, able and glad to follow the Islamic rituals to the letter"--which is tantamount to saying Christians need to convert to Islam if they want to remain in the business. (continue reading...)(...more)